My Aim For 2019? Remember How To Be A Husband Again
Imade two new year's resolutions last year - pass my driving test and get a vasectomy–and I only stuck to one of them.
Still, a 50% hit rate is nothing to sniff at–especially when the other 50% involves reading alarmingly vivid recollections of swollen testicles on internet forums.
So now, giddy with success, I’ve flung caution to the wind and made another resolution, one I fear will be much harder to achieve. This year, I want to remember how to be a husband again.
Since my wife and I had kids, our days have essentially been split into three. There’s the part where we parent, which is basically the human equivalent of trying to catch two ricocheting rubber bullets in mid-air with a pair of chopsticks. There’s the part where we work. And then there’s the part of the day where the kids are asleep and the washing up is done and we both sort of independently scroll through Instagram, bone tired, until we fall asleep in our clothes on the sofa. This is probably the part that needs the most work.
To be clear, we’re a great team. We both do the same job, so we’re always each other’s first port of call whenever we get stuck on something. We both have the same kids, and we’ve pretty much mastered the art of looking after them. We don’t just know all their quirks and moods, but we know each other’s too. We’ve learned how to compensate for each other’s shortcomings and burnish each other’s strengths. We can anticipate trouble. Things get done, and our children are happy as a result. We’re partners. We’re the world’s greatest tag team.
It turns out that I actually really like my wife. Who knew?
But this has meant that we haven’t exactly prioritized our relationship. We barely get to complete a conversation, for instance, thanks to all the endless low-level household din that constantly surrounds us. And this has meant that our interactions now have to be boiled down to rock-hard grunts of purely essential information. “Sleep OK?” / “Ugh”. “Tea?” / “Yes”. “Kid’s on fire” / “Bucket’s over there”. That sort of thing. Anything more than this is futile. Two days ago my wife was trying to tell me something about her childhood, and she had to keep abandoning the story mid-sentence because one child or another kept wandering up to ask a question or tug on our clothes or make a noise like a dinosaur or sing Baby Shark or beg for food every few words. I still don’t know how her anecdote ends. Maybe she killed a homeless person for a bet. I’ll never know.
The thing is, it’s all so easily solved. Just before Christmas–and, before anyone writes in, I know how insanely tragic this sounds–we snuck off while the kids were in childcare and went to the supermarket together. Then, get this, we stopped to have a cup of tea. And it was lovely. It was lovely. It was arguably the best date I’ve ever been on. We caught up. We laughed. We actually had a conversation, rather than simply fend off whatever dreary buckshot the day had to offer. Best of all, our tea was still hot by the time we got to drink it, if you can even imagine such a thing. It turns out that I actually really like my wife. She’s actually really great. Who knew?
But that’s all it takes. Once you’ve got kids, the age of the grand gesture is dead and gone. I can’t whisk my wife off for a weekend in Paris any more, because the cost of the childcare would cripple us and, besides, we’d just spend the whole time asleep in a puddle of our own drool anyway.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.